Summer Berry Crumble

This summer there are so many amazing food festivals cropping up all around the country. A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to demonstrate at one in Cloughjordan in Co. Tipperary. A food festival which was very much focusing on local food producers. There wasn't only food stands and cookery demonstrations but also butter making, butchering demonstrations, organic food debates and so much more. Previous to this I was forwarded a list of the participating producers and in turn I devised the recipes I would demonstrate incorporating as many of these foods as possible.
At the festival I got the chance to visit each of the food stalls, sampling their produce and chatting with those responsible for bringing many delicious goods to our kitchen tables. Instantly it was apparent that these hard working producers held a real passion and belief for their product. Each displaying such a genuine entuasism for good food that it was incredible. Many had found their passion for artisan food production merely by chance. What initially started as a way to make a little extra cash over time would  become so much more than a job, a devotion to deliver something to the public that they truly believe in.
I certainly appreciate the time and effort that goes with making produce to sell at markets etc as I have made jams, chutneys and baked goods to sell at my classes. As a consumer there are just so many benefits to choosing a hand made Irish product in place of a cheaper supermarket alternative with the quality and taste of home-made products generally being superior to the mass produced substitute. Most importantly when you choose to buy one of these products you are supporting an Irish company and in turn you are helping to keep jobs in Ireland, encouraging a brighter future in the agriculture and food sector. So when at all possible we should try to shop local.
Here is the recipe for one of the dishes I demonstrated at Totally Tipperary. It's a Summer Berry Crumble which makes perfect use of the beautiful Irish fruit that is on sale countrywide. Any combination of berries is perfect but if you wanted to substitute the berries in the crumble it would also work well with rhubarb or apples. Enjoy!

Summer Berry Crumble

125g (5oz) caster sugar
250ml (9fl oz) red wine
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole star anise(optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice
450g (1lb) fruit -125g gooseberries 
                                  125g raspberries
                                  125g strawberries
                                  125g blueberries
75g (3oz) butter
150g plain flour
75g (3oz) soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g (2oz) sunflower seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. To prepare the fruit, place the sugar in a heavy-based pan with the red wine, vanilla extract, star anise (optional), and lemon juice.
2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and syrup-like.
3. Stir in the fruit and then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
4. To make the crumble, place the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and sunflower seeds until well combined.
5. Spoon in the berry mixture into four individual ovenproof dishes or large ramekins. Sprinkle over the crumble mixture and arrange on a baking sheet, then bake for about 20 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and bubbling around the edges.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

This article was published in The Westmeath Independent on  6th July 2011.
Photos & styling by Nessa Robins.


Nicola/Simply Homemade said...

Looks & sounds delicious :)


Donna OShaughnessy said...

Wowza ! I can smell it all the way over here in Central Illinois. You are some cook. I manage a small farmers market here and every Saturday after all the customers are gone I buy up the leftovers. We eat fantastically until the next week. Nothing is better than locally grown

My daughter-in-law is in Culinary school and I am fowarding your blog to her now. This is all too good to miss

Nessa Robins said...

Thanks Nicola. It's good with fresh or frozen berries so can also be a nice winter dessert.
Why thank you Donna. What a lovely comment:)
I love farmers markets, they are the perfect place to pick up fruit and veg if you're not lucky enough to grow your own. I hope your daughter in law enjoys the blog!